12A – 93mins – 2017
THE CHAPTER BEFORE THE NEXT
Three years out of college, we re-join the (former) Barden Bellas as they embark on the next chapter of their lives… except none of them much like adult life and all are far too desperate to re-live their glory days and sing with their competition-winning a cappella troupe again. Hating their jobs and no longer with their boyfriends, they all jump at the opportunity to perform together one more time, at a set of concerts for the troops on an overseas United Services Organisation tour.
… Keep Scuttling!
PG – 112mins – 2014 – 3D
First, let me preface this milestone performance with some limb-loosening stretches: I am a 32-year-old man and I realise I am not the dance-flick genre’s target demographic. However, I have a real soft spot for the Step Up franchise (Step Up 2: The Streets in particular), so please do not assume that due to my age and gender that All In will automatically receive a dismissive or negative review.
With that metaphoric warm-up out of the way, sadly this fourth sequel – promoted as the ultimate reunion instalment – definitely feels like a step down in quality – and not just because the title is a fallacy. While it is nice to see franchise alumni Briana Evignan and fan-favourite Adam “Moose” Sevani return, big-hitters Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and Sharni Vinson (to name but three previous stars) are not present. Maybe Some In would have been a more accurate, albeit less tantalising, subtitle?
Following on from Ryan Guzman’s success story in Step Up 4: Miami Heat (2012), All In charts the hugely coincidental rivalry between three dance crews battling it out in L.A. for a VH1 competition called “The Vortex”. A satirical stab at T.O.W.I.E.-style scripted reality shows aside, this is frustratingly predictable fare which goes overboard on cheesy humour, thereby diminishing the human drama behind the tireless troupe.
The usually first-rate choreography also failed to garner the WOW factor on the confined TV-taping stage. Maybe it’s just franchise fatigue, but even some impressive in-your-face utilisation of the cinematic third dimension couldn’t win me over this time around, and a major shake-up of this tired routine will be needed to tempt me back onto the dancefloor for the inevitable sixth Step. Maybe that will be my 200th CR@Blog?